Everton manager Willie Kirk has tipped Sandy MacIver to become the best goalkeeper in world football.
MacIver has been a standout performer for the Blues during the first half of the 2020/21 campaign and has been a regular in Phil Neville’s England squads.
The 22-year-old combines exceptional shot-stopping ability with a strong command of her penalty area and intelligent distribution.
Her range of qualities received national plaudits following a sensational display against Manchester City in the FA Cup final on 1 November.
The Blues were beaten 3-1 after extra-time at Wembley Stadium but MacIver won player-of-the-match honours after making a string of spectacular saves.
Everton boss Kirk outlined why he believes MacIver can reach the pinnacle of her profession.
“Sandy has got all the attributes of a modern-day goalkeeper that you’d want,” said Kirk.
“I think she can be the best goalkeeper in the world. I’m not saying she’s there yet, but she can be.
“It’s been great to see her development.
“We’ve trusted her and given her the platform to perform.
“She’s grabbed that [opportunity] with both hands.
“If she works hard, stays humble and makes the right career choices, I think she can be the best in the world.”
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MacIver – who initially came through Everton’s youth ranks – rejoined the Club in January 2020.
She had previously been playing in the USA, where she undertook a scholarship with American university side Clemson Tigers in South California.
Kirk, who was named Everton manager in December 2018, explains how he quickly identified MacIver as a key transfer target upon joining the Club.
He also paid tribute to experienced Toffees stopper Tinja-Riikka Korpela for helping accelerate MacIver’s progress – and is confident the pair will benefit from working with recently-appointed goalkeeping coach Ian McCaldon.
“When I first came to Everton, Sandy was high on my list of priorities in terms of signings,” Kirk said.
“We knew she wasn’t available until last January – and we ended up bringing in a top goalkeeper and top person in Tinny Korpela.
“Tinny’s helped Sandy’s development as well. I’d like to think Sandy will admit that.
“Everyone learns from Tinny on a day-to-day basis. She’ll be one of the best signings I’ve made at the Club.
“But Sandy was our long-term priority and she has come in and been great.
“Ian will continue working hard with Sandy and make sure she fulfils her potential.”